Normative Theories of Education
David Ng
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This is a very interesting article in many ways. Two things in particular stood out for me. I, among many others, have a mental block about math. I’m sure it’s because of the way it was taught to me. I got As in Algebra and enjoyed it, but my geometry teacher gave me Ds, all the while saying, “Keep up the good work’” because she realized how hard I was trying.

Ironically, for many years, I have taught drawing to people who are 100% sure they can’t draw. Most of them were told as children that they had no ability so don’t even bother to try. Now within 2 hours, I can teach anyone to change the way they see and they draw their self-portrait to prove that they can draw. Changing the way they see is the key.

The second point that struck me was in the comments about how people from different cultures see optical illusions differently. I’m American but have lived in Japan for 37 years, which has changed me quite a bit. Asians and Westerners really do look at things very differently. Here is an article about the research of Richard Nisbett.

Westerners and Easterners see the world differently | New Scientist

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7882-westerners-and-easterners-see-the-world-differently/

“The researchers tracked the eye-movements of two groups of students while they looked at photographs. One group contained American-born graduates of European descent and the other was comprised of Chinese-born graduate students who came to the US after their undergraduate degrees.

Each picture showed a striking central image placed in a realistic background, such as a tiger in a jungle. They found that the American students spent longer looking at the central object, while the Chinese students’ eyes tended to dart around, taking in the context.”

Perceptions and how we learn are endlessly fascinating topics of research.

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